New site is live

So it took a little longer than anticipated, but the new Pencil First website is LIVE!

You can find me here:

Please update your bookmarks (if you’ve got me saved) and I look forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new visitors.


Pencil First is developing

Don’t for a second assume things have been quiet on the Pencil First home front just because I haven’t updated this site in a while. Behind the scenes I have been busily managing a growing workload in amongst full-time employment. I have also been developing a new-look website to make it easier for you to find exactly which of the Pencil First services will be best for you, and it’s due to be launched this August.

Stay tuned while the finishing touches and coordinated colour palette are applied.

Editors who blog

Quite possibly one of my favourite sessions from the 2013 IPEd national conference, Dr Katy McDevitt AE asks the question ‘Should editors blog?’ As an editor and writer who currently blogs I was surprised at the amount of interest in this session (one: because it was at the end of a very long day, and two: because I assumed that blogging and other online activities were already part of the Editors’ Toolkit). For me it’s not about whether editors should blog, but more about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of blogging.

McDevitt’s tips are simple:

  • Choose your niche, audience and style (tone of voice)
  • Create a regular schedule of posts
  • Create connections with others (guests posts and comments)
  • Use a platform that is best for you

I couldn’t stop myself from nodding in the affirmative when McDevitt says ‘it’s not about the money’. It’s really not. In fact, if editors were paid for the amount of words they typed (and I’m speaking from personal experience here) in addition to the words they read their worlds would be richer. What’s great about editors who blog is that they are proficient at identifying areas of editing, writing or publishing that would benefit from being discussed and they discuss it.

Perhaps the chord that struck the sweetest tune in McDevitt’s presentation was that editors who (want to) blog need to maintain a schedule, and this is where I have been going wrong. As one delegate says via Twitter ‘I started out with a blog schedule … then life got in the way … *sigh*’ (@jasmineleong), but the worst thing you can do is walk away from the schedule completely. Scheduling doesn’t have to be complicated either – a simple Excel spreadsheet and a link to my Outlook calendar is enough to get me back on track.

McDevitt finished by tabling a number of editor blogs already available, which goes to show that we’re a passionate bunch when it comes to the industry and that we also share some similar issues. If you’re an editor with a blog, I’d love to ‘check you out’, so drop me a line and let’s see if we can’t solve the sentence structures of the world.

Thanks Katy!

Editing outside the box

What is the editor’s role in the new context of digital interface, ereaders, cloud-based libraries and mobile content? It’s the question editor and writer Selena Hanet-Hutchins tries to answer in her session ‘Editing outside the box—how freelance editors can thrive in digital publishing’ at the 2013 IPEd national conference. The fact of the matter is this, according to Hanet-Hutchins, all editors are — or will be — required to edit ‘outside the box’ and that’s something to be positive about.

Drawing on her experience, her inspiration from the likes of Sean Cubitt and the key concepts of GOD* and BOOK** Hanet-Hutchins steps us through the ways in which editors can embrace the process of getting book from brain to ‘shelf’, ‘shrunken workflows’ and the increasing use of digital formats in publishing. She talks about how digital and online methods of publishing have created greater agility and more flexibility, such as authors working on large chunks of text while editors turn them around in quicker timeframes. However, I feel the over-arching message is that the editor’s focus should remain audience and purpose when reading between the lines and finding the relationships between characters.

It is about  giving greater consideration to ‘what the reader wants’

Hanet-Hutchins also highlights the greater challenges for editors. It is not about what is ‘good for the author’, but giving greater consideration to ‘what the reader wants’. Editors, in guiding authors, now more than ever need to consider how readers want to interact with the material. Such considerations open the door to greater collaboration between not just author and editor, but increasingly with the reader (how else are you going to accurately answer the question?). For some this will be a new and differenct concept, and for others there will be a willingness to embrace the change.

Definitely a thought-provoking session.

*GOD: Good Orderly Direction

** BOOK: Beneficial Organised Operational Knowledge

Hanet-Hutchins also touched on BOOKn, which is Book to the power of networking